Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Vacation Events! And post 200!!!

Hey, look at that! I made it to 200 posts. Woot.

On to the post.

This Christmas vacation was a busy one, especially the first week. We arrived on Friday the 16th and started right away the next morning by driving out to the LA Temple for my brother-in-law's fiance's (Kailee) endowment session.

It was really exciting to see her go and receive her endowment and I had a neat experience getting to be her escort. That probably won't happen again for another 20 plus years so I was honored to get to help her with her first experience going through the temple. She was so calm and wanted to understand without being overly nervous, it was really a sweet day. I am so happy for her!

Everyone who came for the session Kailee went to, sans my brother, Jacob, who was good enough to take the pic.

Then the following Tuesday Henry was struck with the plague and spent 7 hours throwing up. Then he spent the rest of the day sleeping. Henry had never gotten that sick before, he was pretty confused and sad but thankfully it only lasted that day.

Fast forward to Thursday when we were suppose to head to Riverside to help with wedding prep-Johann with a nasty case of the flu that lasted all day and a bit into Friday morning.

Luckily he felt well enough that we were able to make the trek to San Diego to be there for Kaleb and Kailee's sealing. Fun fact, they ended up in the same room and with the same sealer as Johann's sister Natalie.

The sealing was sweet and they both were very happy!

Coming out for the first time as husband and wife. Kailee was definitely the picture perfect bride, looking so radiant and happy. I loved her bird cage veil too.

My sisterS!

At the reception right before the ring ceremony, Henry was finally able to meet his cousin, Max! He was so excited to try and entertain him and play with him throughout. It was pretty cute.

Me and Mr. Max. He finally decided I didn't bug him at this point-woohoo!

And my favorite part of their reception-watching Henry and this little boy, Franklin, tear it up on the dance floor for a good 90 mins straight. They were hilarious.

Congrats to Kaleb and Kailee-we are so very excited for Kailee to be in the family for their decision to be married in the temple!

The next morning everyone was exhausted after the long day and clean up so we had extended PJ hours and turns out Nat and I have the same taste in Christmas pjs for the boys.

Being Christmas eve, we spent that afternoon/evening opening gifts and then having dinner together. It was a nice and quiet day.

The following morning, Christmas morning, we headed over to the other side of Riverside where Natalie and Bryan were blessing their baby Max in Bryan's parent's ward.

The proud parents with their baby.

The whole gang

Our two little fams.

Max's blessing was very sweet. One of the parts I really liked was he was blessed that he would love and accept those who would be otherwise unaccepted. Looking forward to getting to know this sweet little guy more!

After Max's blessing we headed back to AV to spend the rest of the day with the Goodwin side.

I wonder if we'll ever have such a busy Christmas weekend again, and if I could survive it again esp considering the sickness that was going around. That said, it sure did make it easier to think about the Saviour this Christmas while our family was able to witness the blessings that flow from his birth, atonement and resurrection in the temple and through families.

I am thankful for this Christmas and the time we got to spend with family seeing them do the things Heavenly Father wants them to do! A Merry Christmas, indeed!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My friend, Melissa has a new blog called "Bless This Mess" and it is fantastic. Probably because Melissa is fantastic. She is posting recipes and all kinds of home making know-how.
And girl has a lot of know-how.
So take a look at it, subscribe and enjoy all the awesome stuff she'll be posting. I am especially looking forward to all the recipes. We tried to get away with eating at Melissa's at every possible chance. Check out her blog and you'll see why.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A perk

One of the perks about Johann's soon to be profession is if you worked with someone during school, practicum or internship, chances are they'll be sending you information on movements and thoughts in/on education. It can get a little bit much or a bit annoying at times, sure, but every once and a while there is an article Johann thinks I'd find interesting and forwards it on. So I just wait for interesting stuff to be dropped at my feet. It's great.

The most recent article he sent on was about young children and play. It's taken from a speech given in November this year by a fellow name Alfie Kohn. I'm not going to rehash everything he said but here are the five points he covered concerning young children and play:

1. “Play” is being sneakily redefined-“Most of the activities set up in ‘choice time’ or ‘center time’ [in early-childhood classrooms] and described as play by some teachers, are in fact teacher-directed and involve little or no free play, imagination, or creativity.”

2. Younger and older children ought to have the chance to play together-"...older kids are uniquely able to provide support -- often referred to as “scaffolding” -- for younger kids in mixed-age play. The older children may perform this role even better than adults because they’re closer in age to the younger kids and also because they don’t “see themselves as responsible for the younger children’s long-term education [and therefore] typically don’t provide more information or boosts than the younger ones need. They don’t become boring or condescending.”

3. Play isn’t just for children-"Read virtually any account of creativity, in the humanities or the sciences, and you’ll find mentions of the relevance of daydreaming, fooling around with possibilities, looking at one thing and seeing another, embracing the joy of pure discovery, asking 'What if….?'"

4.The point of play is that it has no point- "One plays because it’s fun to do so, not because of any instrumental advantage it may yield. The point isn’t to perform well or to master a skill, even though those things might end up happening. In G. K. Chesterton’s delightfully subversive aphorism, 'If a thing is worth doing at all, it’s worth doing badly.'"

5.Play isn’t the only alternative to “work.”-"Work and play don’t exhaust the available options. There’s also learning, whose primary purpose is neither play-like enjoyment (although it can be deeply satisfying) nor work-like completion of products (although it can involve intense effort and concentration)."

So what's the point: Stop bugging your kid, freaking out if he/she knows the alphabet, can count to 100 or read by 4 and let him/her just play without any 'point' at all.

*If anyone wants the full article just email me or facebook message me and I'll forward it to you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Factory Lights

Friday night we headed to the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory with the cousins to see the Christmas lights in the cactus garden.

They also have an M&M section of the factory so they had this roaming M&M lady for the kids to meet. Henry was a good mixture of excited and scared to shake her hand.

Oh, Henry, will we ever get a decent family picture out of you?

The boys wandering onto the rocks. This was right before some guy in a white lab coat came and told them to get off the rocks and Raiden touched the cactus. Poor guy. I had bet my money on Henry as the first to do that. Raiden was incredibly mellow for having little cactus pricks in his hand and let his dad pull as many as he could see out with barely a whimper. Such a calm kid.

As we wound our way through the cactus garden, we found out they had a spot to meet Santa which we didn't know was going on there beforehand. Henry was excited to meet him, mostly so he could put in his request. He walked up to Santa and before Old St. Nick could get out so much as a 'hello' Henry said, "I want a costume." He wasn't wasting any time I guess. He was fine shaking Santa's hand and taking a pic, but NOT on his lap. That's alright, Henry. Sitting on a strangers lap, no matter how much good PR he has is a little weird.

After all the kids had their time to chat with Santa, the cousins headed off since they had babies and little cactus hands to tend to. We got there later than everyone else (can you imagine, us, running late?) so we did the chocolate factory tour before heading home. Samples at the end-win.

The walk through the garden was pretty and they had lots of fun Christmas blow-ups for the kidlets. Short and sweet. If you're in the area for Christmas-check it out.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This year we had a pretty busy Thanksgiving week/weekend.

We did our Christmas decorating before we left since we are only at our place for a few weeks in December and Henry was beginning to get going on it.

Note: Henry managed to make "eevel" from our believe sign.Yikes!

Then on Tuesday night we had our friends come in from Arizona to stop overnight before continuing on to their Thanksgiving festivities in Utah.

We had a nice dinner out the night with them and my cousin and her two boys. I love when we can go out to eat and enjoy the time there without thinking about having to do dishes or clean up!

Wednesday morning we had a nice breakfast together (thanks Costco) then they headed to Utah while Henry and I packed up for our trip to CA.

Lizze and Henry enjoying jumping on the airmattress

Once Johann got back home we headed straight for Riverside and spent the night and Thanksgiving there. It was pretty quiet, with just us, Johann's parents, his brother Kaleb and Kaleb's fiance, Kailee. They were so cute and made Henry little turkey cookies for dessert which he loved :)

Henry convince Abuela and Grandpa to take out their tree for him to decorate too. Maybe he's part elf?

Johann carving his first turkey

Cute turkey cookies made by Kaleb and Kailee

Getting his gaming on with Uncle Kaleb

That night we decided to do something I'll never do again because of how tired I was the rest of the weekend-Black Friday. We drove to AV, dropped Henry off at my moms and headed to Target. It really wasn't that horribly crowded, the line was ridiculous to check out, though it moved fast, but I think I've decided it's not worth it! We were able to get double the stuff for the budget we set for Henry's 'Santa gifts' and got it all done in one night, but man. I think I'm still tired. I know, being out of school has spoiled me sleep wise I think.

Friday we did the traditional setting up for Christmas and Henry baked Christmas cookies with Grammy, some to eat and some to go on the tree.

Saturday we went and Saw the Muppets, it was pretty darn cute and then spent time with the fam.

Sunday, we went to church with my mom, where Henry decided to cast himself in a starring role in Sacrament meeting by yelling at Johann as he took him out, "LET GO OF ME YOU STUPID GUY!!!" Poor Johann. He's shy enough as is. Oh and additionally everyone got to see the lovely drawing Henry did on his tummy right before church as he was being dragged out. THAT, however, was started by Grammy. Yeah, you're still in trouble for that one!
Oh, and the best part-the first talk was on following the example of little children. I think everyone in the congregation got a good laugh out of the juxtaposition they saw that morning. So happy we can visit a provide some entertainment. :)

It was, as always, a quick trip, but we're happy it's a much closer one now. Only a few more weeks and we'll get to have our extended Christmas stay, as well as Kaleb and Kailee's weeding-woohoo! Come on, December!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Boots

Thursday was a good day for Henry. Not just because his Grammy came for Vetrans' Day weekend but because *finally* a much awaited package arrived:

Aren't those the cutest little fireman boots ever? Henry's old pair of snow boots that he'd had for about a year and a half finally gave up the ghost. They were already stinky, ripped and overall tattered from almost constant use but when he had an accident last Saturday and some of it made it into the boots, I was done. There was no saving those things at that point. So, he finally got some new boots.

Now that is one happy kid. He has had them on since Thursday all but one day. Let's see if these can hold out for at least a year and a half like the last ones.

Friday, November 4, 2011

See, I'm not crazy and or making it up

Remember THIS POST from over summer where I complained about the temple=castle; girl=disney princess stuff they teach in YW? Most of the people who commented said they'd never heard of it and I started thinking, did I make this up in my head? I thought it was a widely practiced YW kind of thing. Then just now on my news feed I saw the above! See, I'm not crazy or making it up. GAAAAH.

It's not 'his' castle, or yours, pretty sure it's God's and acting silly and entitled isn't going to help you be special. Being righteous will. But I've said enough on this topic already.

So while I'm picking on people anyway, I may as well finally get this one out of my system:

Isn't this awesome?! Hermione is all about modesty! WRONG. Reread that and think about it for a couple minutes and see if that's REALLY what she's saying.

Ok, first off, yes, give her credit. She's in a place where being a skank and dressing disgustingly are routine and acceptable and it's awesome she doesn't want to run around mostly naked. BUT that's awesome for someone of her understanding, however, not something that should be hung up in the YW room in the church. Instead of true modesty, she's trying to say modesty is more sexy than not being modest. And forgive me, but I'm pretty sure the point isn't to find a way to follow the standards of the church so you can meet the goals of the world, ie, use a church standard, modesty to become the goal of the world for women, ie, sexy.
So I understand if that was confusing and you thought really it was an awesome message. But it's not. Not for young women who are striving to be virtuous.

El fin.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Travelin' Woman

October has been a busy month. The first week we went to California to watch Conference with my family since we don't have basic cable (yes, our tv is old) and Henry would definitely not allow us to all huddle in front of the computer screen.

In between sessions on Saturday, we had to make a stop at Lolas. Visiting home without eating at Lola's is like forgetting to see half of the family. I'm completely serious. I love that place.
My brother was even able to come out from UCLA for conference with the fam. He and Henry like to make the same faces for pictures.

A nice picture-woohoo.

Jacob with the other Lolaites.

Sunday after the last Conference session, poor Johann had to travel back as a lone man to Henderson for work on Monday while Henry and I got to stay and play in California.

And just so no one assumes I spent the whole experience of Conference in a Lola's coma, my favorite talks were Elder Cook's, Elder Scott's and Sister Beck's. Oh shoot, one was before Lolas, one on Sunday and the other a week before. Maybe Saturday was passed in a Lola's coma after all...

Ok, away with you, flippancy. I really do love Conference time. I love going back through my notes and seeing what it is I have been counseled to change, to do better. I'm grateful to have revelation flowing continually from my Heavenly Father through his servants. I too often forget what a wonderful and merciful blessing it is.

On Monday, Jakey decided to stay in the HD to get his tires changed and was a nice big bro and took Hamp, Henry and I out to Red Robin for lunch.

He was really working hard.

It was actually pretty cold in the restaurant and Henry kept snuggling Jacob to stay warm. It was hilarious. I think I will title this picture, "The adoration of Jakey."

Tuesday and Wednesday, Henry and I helped my mom around her class and played at the house. Henry loves having so much space in and out of the house and so do I. And, I cannot deny that he also loved being able to watch Sprout and Nick Jr while sitting in Grammy's big comfy chair.

On Thursday, we were able to go to The Huntington's free day and see the gardens and some of the galleries with my mom.

Ah, The Huntington, how I love thee. Many fond childhood memories from here as well as adult ones-it's where Johann and I got engaged.

Henry being exactly like Henry is. A big leaf? SWORD.
He was fantastic though. We walked all around the gardens and he even allowed us some pleasant time in the gallery and would look at the paintings and different things being shown.

I love that Henry is starting to be more comfortable in museums. I want to set a good pattern for him so he doesn't end up a museum hater.

I think my favorite thing about the Huntington that day was just getting to walk in beautiful nature with my mom and son and feel the peace it brings. They also added a beautiful stain glass window in one of the galleries and I could have stood in front of it for a good hour. Ah, I love that place.

Friday was our last full day in Apple Valley and we got to celebrate Hamp's birthday. Ok, well, by celebrate, I mean eat peach cobbler concurrently. What can I say, the kids a hermit. I think he had a good day, none the less.

We drove back Saturday morning to Henderson and my mom stayed with us until Monday morning when she left to Utah to have a visit out there with her friend Julie.

So for a week we caught up and did our normal things. Then on Friday as my mom drove back from Utah, she stopped her again for the weekend, kind of spur of the moment-woohoo! Pictures of that little visit to come in a later post.

Then the following, ie, this past Tuesday, Henry and I set off for Arizona to see our old friends, the Ivanov's and meet their little girl Elizabeth.

She is pretty darn cute. Definitely likes mommy more than anyone in the world and was certainly wary of me but we had fun getting to see and know her better than just through pictures.

Henry and Lizzie

We spent time together around the house, went to a fall festival at a local farm, had a picnic at the lake, played games and ate and ate and ate. Lena, you cook too well.

I have to admit, I was a bit scared to go all the way out to AZ, by myself, with Henry, in a car that hasn't been completely reliable lately, in the still 90 plus weather.
But about half way through the drive, I felt like the car was working well, Henry was happy and I felt calm.
I'm so glad we got to spend time with our friends and continue to enjoy that friendship all together in the same space. It's so fun to see them as parents and know what good, kind people I get to be friends with. We love you guys! I also now have a lovely store of memories now to remember them by until next time =)
Oh, and can I just say that I will miss having chocolate and martinelli's brought out at night during games? Because I will!

Picnic at the lake-a picture of everyone-yay!

Annnd as a big bonus for facing my fears and going to Arizona, we also go to go and have a quick visit with our friends the Bakers before we set off! We got to witness the beautiful sealing of their son Andrew to them and Henry and Carter were born within a few weeks of each other. I had yet to meet their newest arrival Maylee so that was quite a treat. I almost cried like a big baby when Andrew came home from school-he's gotten so big and acts just like the big boy he is now, talking about what he did at school and whatnot.
It was also fun to chat with Meg again and stand in amazement as she moved, I swear, 2 times faster than anyone I've ever seen. She is super mom! So glad we got to see you and the fam!
Meg and the kids. Henry was pretty sure he wanted to stay there with those boys forever.
I can't say I blame him though =)

So here's to our little travels. It has been fun and thank goodness, because the holiday season is upon us and that means more traveling. Happily though, this traveling will get to involve Johann. It really is more fun when it's all of us together. =)

Friday, October 14, 2011

You've had a birthday (month late edition)!

This past September Johann turned the big 2-7. I keep telling him if he hits thirty, I'll have to trade him in for a newer model. It just seems weird that soon one of us will be in our thirties. There is no denying it, you're a certified adult at that point, or you're ridiculous for not becoming an adult by then. I think he's pretty well on his way to certification though.
So on to the big day.
Since he is merging into total adulthood, he, sadly, still had to go to work. So Henry and I prepared while he was gone. I made the cake while Henry sat next to me, sneaking crusts from the layers whenever possible. That was basically his lunch.

Johann asked for a polish honey cake. The only fancy dessert I know how to make. He then further asked if it could be green as an ode to his 2009 cake. I didn't know how dark green would look so we went with a very, very light green.
All decorated and ready for Papa to come home so we can celebrate.

Johann decided to open his cards before dinner. Henry was very willing, as always, to help. Thanks to our generous family Johann's been able to get some new church and work clothes, which is great considering most of his stuff was held over from his mission still. Yes, it was time.

Getting ready to head out to dinner.

Dinner at Red Robin with the cousins, we didn't get a chance to snap a pic of Nancy before she had to take off and pick up her girls. Thanks to everyone for coming out with us!

Oh, yes. We moved into the 21st century and have a Wii. Since we don't have cable this was actually a much cheaper option and my mom and I went in on it together for Johann's birthday. Johann's been so kind as to let us all use his birthday gift too. We really enjoy having it.

Johann and his birthday present opening team.

He got some more Wii stuff, a second controller and wheel. Then he also got this little fella above from the Berkley collection. We're hoping to start collecting more of these.

I think it's safe to say Johann had a very nice birthday. Thank you again to the cousins for coming and celebrating with us, and to Natalie and Bryan for skyping in to sing Happy Birthday to Johann, it meant a lot! We are lucky to still get to have family around to celebrate and play with.
Happy Birthday, Johann! We love you!